Shire introduces new rate for vacant land

The Zig Zag Cultural Centre.
The Zig Zag Cultural Centre.

The council passed its $53.3 million 2013-2014 budget at a meeting this week, which included a 7 per cent rate increase on all residential properties and an additional category for vacant land, which collectively, is set to generate revenue of more than $28 million for the Shire

Ratepayers who own a block of vacant land will be charged eight cents in the dollar by the Shire in a bid to encourage them to make use of it.

The vacant land rate, which will affect 881 properties, is about three cents more than the general residential rate of 5.73 cents in the dollar, and will bring in about $1.25 million.

Shire acting chief executive Clayton Higham said there was no way to tell whether its incentive for landowners to develop their properties would have an immediate impact.

A Department of Local Government spokeswoman said that under the Local Government Act 1995, councils were entitled to impose different rates according to zoning, land purpose or whether it was vacant.

Commercial and industrial properties will be subject to a 12 per cent rate increase next financial year.

The budget is the first to be shaped by the Shire’s new long-term financial plan ” entitled Kalamunda Accountable ” which aims to ensure its financial sustainability until 2023.

The Shire’s focus for the past three years has been to recover its drained reserves after investing the majority of about $11 million for the Zig Zag Cultural Centre, operations centre administration building and Kalamunda Water Park upgrade in the 2010-2011 financial year.